n African Renaissance - Xenophobia as a form of human insecurity : plight of Malawian migrants in South Africa

Volume 11 Number 3-4
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


International migration between Malawi and South Africa is a century-old phenomenon. Different categories of migrants have been involved in this 'process' on either a regular or an irregular basis. While scholars of differing persuasions have made concerted efforts to document the nature of and trends in migrancy, there are a few seminal studies on the suffering dimension of these migrants. Most of such studies merely gloss over the experiences of migrants and do not necessarily establish the linkage among immigration, xenophobia and human security. This paper presents xenophobia during the contemporary migration period as a form of human insecurity which has a direct bearing on their stay in the destination country. Using oral data (from Zubayumo Makamo area in Mzimba District), newspaper reports, and archival information, among others, the paper allows the migrants to speak for themselves in order to gauge the exact nature and degree of their suffering. The paper centrally argues that the waves of xenophobic violence in South Africa in 2008 were unique only in terms of scale since throughout the century migrants had been victims of, strictly-speaking, salient forms of xenophobia. Finally, the paper makes an attempt to suggest a way out of this immigration-xenophobia web for consideration by policy makers.

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